Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mazz Swift

Violinist and singer Mazz Swift
Summer approaches, and interviews for my Women In Jazz book project continue. Next up, violinist and singer Mazz Swift, who I first heard awhile back on a recording by the New York-based, internationally renowned collective Burnt Sugar. Swift reappeared on my radar playing strings for my friend singer songwriter Mark Lesseraux on his beautiful cover of the Brian Eno classic "Burning Airlines Give You So Much More." Swift's current musical projects alternately embrace Irish and Celtic influences, Hungarian folk music, the music of 1920s and 1930s American string bands, collective electric jazz funk, and free improvisation. Swift is a native New Yorker, graduate of the High School of the Performing Arts, and attended The Juilliard School of Music. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. There's a lot to talk about!

Many of the up and coming musicians I've interviewed for this project, Nicole Rampersaud, Jean Cook, and Samantha Boshnack, are transcending and inventing their own musical genres. Jazz in the 21st century is embracing an unprecedented number of cultural and historical influences, and the music of Rampersaud, Cook, Boshnack, and most definitely Mazz Swift reflects this.

What exactly is jazz? Considering the definition of that often contentious word is one of the recurring themes in these interviews...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater photo by Mark Higashino
I'll be interviewing singer extraordinaire Dee Dee Bridgewater for the Women In Jazz book project, and I'm a bit nervous! The scope of this woman's repertoire and range of abilities is truly amazing. She's a born performer. If you haven't seen her live you're really missing something.

Fortunately for my nerves, I actually interviewed Bridgewater back in 2012 in advance of her Da Camera of Houston performance. I was lucky enough to talk with her on the phone and attend her concert, which was wonderful. This time around, I'll be focusing on questions that address a few of the themes that are recurring in the interviews I'm conducting for this book. With an artist like Bridgewater, there's sooo much to talk about. Narrowing it down to a few subjects is truly the challenge.

More news is coming as I continue transcribing interviews and shaping what will be the final version of this book. If you have a second, please give the Women In Jazz Facebook page a proverbial "like." Your support is truly appreciated.